Minister Shabangu encourages integration

Saturday, April 25, 2015

By More Matshediso

Johannesburg-The Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women Susan Shabangu says attacking foreign nationals or chasing them out of the country will not reduce the problems facing South Africans, but could increase unemployment and lead to job losses.

“The international community is looking at us, and they have issued out a statement discouraging people from coming into South Africa because they are not safe.

“… that has already affected the tourism industry, and people who work in the industry will end up losing jobs because there will not be tourists coming into our country,” she said.

Minister Shabangu was speaking in a meeting with community leaders in Ekurhuleni representing various organizations from Ramaphosa informal settlement in Boksburg and Actonville in Benoni on Saturday.

She said the meeting with community leaders was important as it will help government to understand issues that citizens have and address them.

It was also important for citizens to understand the importance of integration and also learn about South Africa’s history, especially about migrants who come to South Africa to work.

“South Africa has always had migrants who come and work in the country,” she said.

The Minister has encouraged community leaders to educate communities about implications that the attacks on foreign nationals have on the image and economy of South Africa.

Preventing attacks from recurring

Minister Shabangu commended the community of Ramaphosa for refusing to let the 2008 attacks on foreign nationals recur in their community. She said by proactively standing up against the attacks prevented them from recurring.

In 2008, Ramaphosa also became famous with attack on foreign nationals but the community has since fought hard to prevent the attacks from recurring.

Community leaders said there have been a number of organised peace marches, campaigns against xenophobia and prayer meetings held in the community since the recent attacks on foreign nationals.

Some of the leaders who took platform in the meeting said Ramaphosa residents played a big role in preventing the attacks from happening and that the community has established a solid relationship with police to fight crime in the area.

Community Policing Forum Co-ordinator Jeffrey Hendricks was amongst more than 50 community leaders who attended the meeting. He called on other leaders to work closely with one another to deal with challenges in the community.

Hendricks, who is also a Chairman of Reiger Park Business Forum, made a request for a leaders workshop to be held in his area to enhance the efficiency and partnership of leaders in the area.

All leaders who attended the meeting expressed satisfaction on how residents in their community react to the issue of violence against foreign nationals.

One of the leaders said he is one of the South Africans who rents out a room for foreign owned businesses in his yard, and will guard jealously against any attacks planned for foreign nationals because they are helping him as much as he helps them.

Integrating migrants into communities

Minister Shabangu encouraged South Africans to re-integrate the displaced foreign nationals back into their communities and live in harmony with them.

She called on citizens to assist in legalisation of migrants, to reduce the alleged criminal activities that foreign nationals engage in.

“If they are not legally documented, it is difficult for police to even trace them if they have committed crime. You cannot have someone living close to your house without knowing who they are. Build relationship with them and, if they are not in the country legally, help them get registered in Home Affairs,” said the Minister.

Minister Shabangu also encouraged communities to integrate for the benefit of growing their township economy. She said if neighbouring communities do not work together, the poorest amongst them were likely to practice crime against the other.

Encouraging business initiatives

Minister Shabangu also encouraged residents to come up with initiatives that will bring them income and not rely too much on government to create jobs for them.

“Why would you want to wake up in the morning and work for someone else when you can start your own project and make money for yourself?” the Minister asked.

However, the Minister encouraged youth to prioritise education so that they can be employed when job opportunities arises in their